All Americans the age of 16 and over are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Experts hope that this expanded eligibility will finally put the brakes on the spread of the virus. Here is the latest in the fight to contain COVID-19 and the return to some type of normalcy.
New Milestone Reached: According to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Sunday, more than 25% of all Americans are now fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. This number equates to 84 million people. In addition, over 129 million Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine, accounting for nearly 40% of the total US population. This number is higher when looking at those 16 and over.Read More »
Most medical experts guess that an area will need between 70-85% of a population vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity.
Latest on the Johnson & Johnson Pause: Unfortunately, some experts believe that the current pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will only serve to fuel more hesitancy about the shot. Last week, the CDC and the US Drug Administration (USDA) jointly recommended the pause of the vaccine after concerns of six reported cases of severe blood clots that may be linked to the product.
CDC vaccine advisers are planning to meet on April 23 to discuss whether it is the vaccine leading to the blood clots. Should this evidence confirm the assumption, it will be up to the CDC to recommend the next course of action. Most officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, believe that the group will make a decision by Friday. It is possible that they will recommend the use of the vaccine with some restrictions in place. For example, because the blood clots appear to only be affecting women of child-bearing age, it may be that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be reserved for males. All of this is speculation until the CDC comes down with its final recommendation.
CDC Warns of Hygiene Theater: In a telephone briefing sponsored by the CDC on Monday, experts weighed in on the problem of “hygiene theater.” Vincent Hill, Chief of the Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch, said that disinfecting surfaces may lead people to feel more at ease with the spread of the virus, causing them to have a false sense of security.
During the early days of the pandemic, it was widely believed that the virus spread easily on surfaces. However, that line of thought has since been debunked as it became more clear that COVID-19 was primarily spreading through respiratory droplets in the air. Although cleaning surfaces is certainly not a waste of time, the spread of the virus is still minimal through this avenue. If you do spend time disinfecting the house, it is best to focus on high-contact touchpoints, including doorknobs, light switches, and remote controls.
UK Variant Leading to More Hospitalizations in Younger Population: The B.1.1.7 strain of the COVID-19 virus, also known as the UK variant, is now the dominant strain in the US. Unfortunately, this variant is also more contagious than the original strain of the virus that first swept the country. This strain is hitting the younger population particularly hard, sending hospitalization rates soaring in the hardest-hit areas such as Michigan.
The reason why this appears to be affecting the youngest adults the most is simply that this is the population least likely to be vaccinated at this point. With approximately 65% of all Americans aged 65 and over fully vaccinated, it only makes sense that they are not seeing the spread of this variant. It is also likely that the younger set is also catching the virus at greater rates because they are the ones most likely to be out and about.